MIAMI, FL— June 29, 2011 – An American man who was accused of having unlawful sexual relations with at least eight impoverished Haitian children at the residential center that he set up in the Caribbean nation’s capital of Port-au-Prince pleaded not guilty to four counts of child sex tourism on June 23, 2011. According to information provided by the Associated Press, the defendant, a 66-year-old man from Brighton, Michigan, had been detained since Miami police arrested and charged him on May 8.
Matthew Andrew Carter set up the Morning Star residential facility in the mid-nineties to provide poor Haitian boys, who were either orphans or had parents who could not afford to care for them in a sufficient manner, with a place to live, food to eat, schooling and other living necessities.
Carter, who would travel back and forth between Haiti and the United States, reportedly rented several different homes to run his residential center in over the years. At the time that the alleged child sex tourist was arrested in Miami, there were 14 male students permanently living at the Morning Star Center and three others who spend their weekends there.
Reports indicated Carter would offer the students gifts or money if they performed illicit sexual acts on him. The criminal complaint alleges that Carter would threaten to stop supporting the boys who refused to submit to his sexual demands, and sometimes even physically abuse them, either with his fist or a stick.
Four boys who were living at the Port-au-Prince residential center at the time of his arrest told reporters that Carter would lock those who rejected his demands outside “with the dogs,” occasionally shooting his firearm in the air. One of the boys who claimed to have been sexually assaulted said that such abuse started when he was 10 years of age, ending only six years later when the student refused to be subjected to any more sexual exploitation. In response to the boy’s refusal to partake in any more illegal sexual activity, Carter in turn refused to buy the student any clothes, shoes or reading material.
According to Miami U.S. Attorney Wilfredo Ferrer, “This defendant preyed on innocent Haitian children living in severely depressed conditions, making his conduct particularly deplorable…Rather than using Morning Star as he promised — to administer aid and provide sanctuary to needy children — he used the center to manipulate, abuse and sexually exploit them.”
While none of the young sexual assault victims have been identified, the Miami child sex tourism case is ongoing. Reports noted that if the defendant is ultimately found guilty of all four counts of child sex tourism, he could spend up to 15 years in prison for the first count ONLY. The additional three counts could land him in prison for up to thirty years each—bring his potential prison sentence up to about 105 years.
The U.S. Justice Department’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) describes child sex tourists as “individuals that travel to foreign countries to engage in sexual activity with children.”
About the Miami Sexual Assault Lawyers and Personal Injury Attorneys of Gerson & Schwartz, P.A.
Working closely with advocacy groups such as the National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC), the Miami sexual assault attorneys of Gerson & Schwartz are dedicated to protecting and enforcing the rights of rape and sexual assault victims. With more than 30 years of experiencing litigating a variety of complex injury and assault claims, the Florida injury attorneys of Gerson & Schwartz, P.A. will fight to help victims of sexual assault and rape obtain the justice a compensation they deserve.